Education as Deep Cultivation

From Patrick Deneen at The American Conservative, a thoughtful essay on the nature of education.


...In our modern insistence to standardize and equalize, we necessarily discard any higher aspiration of education’s end in an embrace of a widely-secured agreement about lower, debased ends: an education based upon a lowest common-denominator, “career-readiness.” Our civilization thus shows its ultimate commitments through how it educates its young—that we think them incapable of anything higher than being workers in a deracinated globalized economic system, neither citizens nor, in the fullest sense, humans.

At the same time, we condemn ourselves, betraying our ancient faith in our own ability to educate and cultivate our young, handing over our final and most basic liberty to a distant power. Contained in the very act of handing over the education of our young is the self-indictment of a decaying Republic, a future feared by, among others, Tocqueville, as a possible path that America might take, since it is one that all republics heretofore have taken, and is an inevitability once a people has lost the taste and the art of ruling themselves.